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The International Criminal Court announced on Thursday that there is enough evidence to charge ex-President Laurent Gbagbo for crimes against humanity.
The Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed that the former president will face four charges of murder, rape, attempted murder and persecution after going through more than 100 witness statements and 22,000 pages of documented evidence against Gbagbo.
The Chamber, which consisted of Presiding Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul and Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert, found that the former Ivory Coast president was involved in several crimes against humanity between Dec. 16 and 19 2010, as well as on March 3, 2011.
He, or at least forces loyal under his instruction, interrupted a pro-Alassane Ouattara demonstration, which resulted in the deaths of 45 people, the rape of 16 women and injuries to nearly 54 others. Prior to the demonstration, the president attempted to prevent it and "instructed the high commanders of the FDS to take any necessary measures to prevent it," according to the 131-page ruling.
Reuters reports that the violence against protesters, which continually increased, was due to Gbagbo's refusal to step down after losing the 2010 election to current President Ouattara.
Gbagbo has maintained his innocence and claims the trial is merely a way for the current Ivory Coast president to do away with political opponents.